Learn More: Grocery Store Access
Low Access Population: The percentage of individuals who do not live within one mile of a supermarket in urban areas or within 10 miles of a supermarket in rural areas
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Access Research Atlas
Why is this Variable Important to Measure?
Low Access Population
An area is considered a "food desert" when 33 percent of a census tract (or at least 500 residents in that tract) do not live within one mile of a large grocery store or supermarket in urban areas or within 10 miles in rural areas. This is likely an indication that residents in this area do not have access to fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthful foods. Instead, residents in food deserts often rely on smaller food marts that sell large amounts of processed foods high in fat and sugar that contribute to high obesity rates.
The percentage of individuals in an area who do not live within one mile of a grocery store can be used to identify whether or not that area is a food desert, and which neighborhoods require development and investment in basic resources and nutrition education.